by Emily Hause
We all have an idea of what we believe admissions committees want in a medical school applicant. This idea of the “perfect” applicant haunts our nightmares and can often make us feel inadequate.
What getting into medical school looks like
Today, I’m going to try to dispel the myth of the one perfect applicant. There are many important strengths and assets that work in you favor for getting into medical school. I have lots of classmates with entirely different backgrounds, and today I’d like to share with you some profiles of accepted medical students (all names have been changed for privacy).
The PhD medical student
Megan graduated college with a degree in molecular biology. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, but really liked research. She got a prestigious internship in orthopedics research, then spent two years working as a research associate. Megan decided to formalize her love of research by applying to a PhD program. She rotated through different labs and focused her research on the impacts of maternal obesity on pregnancy complications. During her work, she realized that she wanted a more hands-on approach to improving the health of her research subjects.
Thus, she applied to medical school. The strengths in her application were her obvious passion for research and improving the lives of her future patients. Her application also demonstrated her commitment and work ethic. Getting a PhD was an asset in her application, but it’s definitely not required for getting into medical school.
The humanities major
Lola had a passion for learning about Spanish literature and history. Her mother is a physician, but she wasn’t sure that her passion was in healthcare. After working as a grade school teacher and a nanny following graduation, she decided to explore her undeniable passion for the healthcare field by working as a medical assistant in a private clinic. After realizing that the medical field was a good fit, she completed a post-bacc program specifically geared towards prerequisites and entrance to medical school.
One of the strengths in Lola’s application was the hands-on exposure she had to the medical field. Working as an MA really prepared her for interview questions about the medical field and experiences working with patients. She also has a special set of skills when working with Spanish-speaking patients. Her non-traditional major is an asset because it highlights her ability to connect with diverse patients and bring unique experiences to her medical school class.
The BA/MD Student
Many schools have special programs in which students can be accepted to medical school before they even complete their undergraduate program. It’s more common at undergraduate institutions that have an associated medical school, and it’s usually a small, exclusive program. Bryce was fortunate enough to be one of those special students. How did he set himself apart so early in college that he was accepted to a BA/MD program?
Well, he had excellent grades in his first few years of college—so when he applied he already had a strong academic record. He also had an extensive history of volunteering and was actively engaged in a lot of campus groups. Bryce had diverse hobbies, such as playing an instrument, and a ton of research experience. All of these assets, as well as a strong interview for the BA/MD program, ensured that Bryce could skip the AMCAS application process.
So, there are many roads to take for getting into medical school. Your path may sound like one of these, or yours may be entirely different. What are the strengths of your application? What unique assets do you bring as a prospective medical student?
Make sure your application is strong enough to get accepted. Visit Kaptest.com/MCAT to view our MCAT prep options and upcoming class schedules.